The body of evidence about nuts and children’s health continues to grow, with new local and international research papers regularly published. Here are some of the key papers in nuts and children’s health research.

Body of evidence

Nut consumption during pregnancy is associated with decreased risk of peer problems in 5-year-old Japanese children. (Nguyen et al, 2024).
This study analysed data from the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study (KOMCHS) – a pre-birth cohort study in Japan. Study subjects were 1,199 mother–child pairs. After adjustment for potential non-dietary and dietary confounding factors, it found that maternal consumption of nuts during pregnancy was linked with a significantly reduced risk of peer problems in 5-year-old children. Further research is needed in this area, including on the mechanisms underlying the preventive association seen in this study.

Nuts and seeds consumption impact on adolescent obesity: Sex-specific associations from 2003 to 2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. (Yang et al, 2024).
This study explored the correlation between nut intake and overweight/obesity among adolescents (12-19 years), using data from the US-based National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from 2003 to 2018. Among the findings, females who regularly consumed the most nuts (>57g/day – the highest quintile of intake), were less than half as likely to be overweight/obese, compared with those who never ate nuts. In males, nuts showed a protective effect against waist circumference growth. This suggests nuts and seeds may contribute to healthier physical development in adolescents.

Effect of walnut consumption on neuropsychological development in healthy adolescents: A multi-school randomised controlled trial. (Pinar-Marti et al, 2023).
In this randomised controlled trial, 771 healthy teenagers (aged 11–16 years) were randomised into two groups (intervention and control). The intervention group received 30g/day of raw walnuts – to be incorporated into their diet for 6 months. Being prescribed to eat walnuts for 6 months did not improve the neuropsychological function of healthy adolescents. However, participants who adhered to the intervention the most had improved sustained attention, fluid intelligence, and ADHD symptoms.

The effect of nut consumption on diet quality, cardiometabolic and gastrointestinal health in children: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. (Mead et al, 2021).
An Australian review paper has found that eating nuts improves kids’ diet quality. Children aged 8-18 years who ate nuts had better intakes of essential nutrients, including mono- and polyunsaturated fats, protein and fibre. The review considered the outcomes of four randomised controlled trials, lasting between three and 16 weeks, and in which nut consumption ranged from 15-30g. The review also found that far less is known about the health benefits (specifically, cardiometabolic and gastrointestinal) of nuts for children, compared with the wealth of evidence in adults.

Association of nuts and unhealthy snacks with subclinical atherosclerosis among children and adolescents with overweight and obesity. (Aghayan et al, 2019).
Participants with the highest nut intake had nearly 60% lower risk of high cIMT, a marker of atherosclerosis, compared to those in the lowest tertile of nut consumption.

Maternal nut intake in pregnancy and child neuropsychological development up to 8 years old: a population-based cohort study in Spain. (Gignac et al, 2019).
In the first of its kind, a study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health found children, whose mothers ate more nuts during the first trimester of pregnancy, achieved the best results in tests measuring cognitive function, attention capacity and working memory.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy infant feeding for allergy prevention guidelines. (Joshi et al, 2019).
The guidelines reinforce the importance of introducing peanut and egg in the first year of life. The optimal timing of introducing other allergens (including tree nuts) is not well understood, although it is still recommended not to delay their introduction.

Effect of hazelnut on serum lipid profile and fatty acid composition of erythrocyte phospholipids in children and adolescents with primary hyperlipidemia: a randomized controlled trial. (Deon et al, 2018).
Hazelnuts, both with and without skins significantly reduced LDL cholesterol and increased HDL:LDL cholesterol ratio.

Asian children living in Australia have a different profile of allergy and anaphylaxis than Australian-born children: A state-wide survey. (Wang et al, 2018).
Study reveals surprising patterns of allergy/anaphylaxis risk, suggesting that genetics and environment may be an important factor.

Factors associated with body mass index in children and adolescents: An international cross-sectional study. (Mitchell et al, 2018).
Large cross-sectional study shows significant associations between eating nuts (>3x/week) with lower BMI in children and adolescents. Maternal smoking and TV viewing were significantly associated with increased BMI.


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